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The 37-Year-Old Theater Virgin

October 5, 2012

“You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

My wife and I adopted “Once In A Lifetime” by the Talking Heads as “our song” ages ago due to the unlikeliness of our relationship. But it could also be the theme song of my new and unexpected theatrical career.

Until five years ago, I had never performed — never. I did not do elementary school plays nor did I act in high school (even though I ran with the artsy crowd in my senior year). I had this strange belief that it just wasn’t for me — that I could write (which I did well) or play music (which I do poorly) but that my feet were not meant to trod boards. I do not know where this conviction came from — certainly not from my ever-supportive parents. I just never considered acting.

But after school was done and I’d settled into a comfortable adult life, I became a serial dabbler, taking classes in arts as varied as photography and bookbinding. I even took a tap dancing class. I was by far the worst in the class, which was liberating, since I could just be free and express myself without fear.

And then, one day five years ago, I was at an arts festival with my twin sons, toddlers at the time, and I picked up a course catalog for a local acting school. I figured I’d give it a try. And the curtain opened on an entirely new part of my life.

I could tell immediately that this was different from my past avocations. Though I was not particularly good at performing initially, it touched something inside me that the other exercises had not, and I took class after class. I discovered improv, and that suited my comfort level and odd work schedule (I work nights and weekends), so I moved in that direction and have been performing occasionally for about two years.

But it was not until just about six months ago that I got up the nerve to take on my fear of auditioning. I am not a strong memorizer — though now that I’m acting I find that skill, like any other, strengthens with time and work — and I was concerned about being judged. But a series of incidents in my personal life, positive and negative, convinced me it was time.

If I auditioned and did not succeed, I reasoned, I would not be in plays. That would leave me no worse than where I was if I continued to fear auditioning — not in plays. I gathered up my courage, telling myself that there was probably little risk of my actually being cast in anything in the near future, so I would at least not have to confront that next challenge immediately.

About that, happily, I was wrong. Since that first audition, I have been cast in five productions, and I have made acting a central part of my life, rivaled only by my family and my paying job in terms of importance. My first audition and first show were at age 37, but I anticipate decades of performances to come.

(In my next post, I’ll write more about those first auditions and roles.)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Tess permalink
    October 5, 2012 8:20 am

    So thrilled to be able to read about your acting journey here! Some day, if I find myself in your city when you have a show up, I’ll be sitting in the very front row!

  2. The Growing Artist permalink
    October 5, 2012 10:57 am

    Welcome! I really enjoyed reading your post. I’m looking forward to reading more!

  3. October 5, 2012 3:09 pm

    So glad you have you here! Your story is so interesting and I’m thrilled that you’re sharing it here.

  4. The British Dancer permalink
    October 5, 2012 4:24 pm

    Such an inspiring story. Welcome to the Green Room!

Trackbacks

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